Frugal Living 

5 Ridiculous Ways to Save Money

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Toilet paper... roll?When it comes to frugal living, it’s possible to save money if you make certain lifestyle choices. Without kids and pets, you could save a lot each year. But many of us like the emotional benefits that come with some expensive decisions, like having a mortgage for that home you bought, and sending the kids to college.

That money spent has to be made up somewhere. Some people decide to make more money as a way to offset those costs. Others, though, take frugality to the next extreme. While there are some quite sensible things you can do to save money, there are also some crazy ways to be frugal. Here are some of the more ridiculous ways that some people save money:

1. Toilet Paper

One of the more common strategies to save on toilet paper is to buy two-ply, and then separate it out. That way, you now have one-ply toilet paper, and it should last longer. I’m not actually sure if this would work, however. Wouldn’t you need more toilet paper if it were that thin? I suppose if you had the, er, discipline to a two-ply amount with one-ply it would save you money.

Another interesting idea is to use cloth toilet paper. It sounds kind of gross, it’s true, but is it really that much different than using cloth diapers? You could even get a diaper pail to help out with your cloth toilet paper needs.

2. Take the Condiments from Restaurants

Many restaurants offer packets of ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper, relish, sweetener and other items. These are free for the taking. You can just swipe and go. Some restaurants no longer set the condiments out because of this. However, in most cases you can ask for a little extra. Not bad. Go in, order something off the value menu, and then take a few extra packets of what you need. Spend $1, and get several days’ worth of condiments in one go.

Why stop at the condiments? You can save on napkins by taking a few from the dispensers. Might as well get the best bang for your buck.

3. Reuse Liners

You can use the liners from cereal boxes in lieu of sandwich bags, or other storage bags. Even better: Those huge bags of generic cereal that you get at the store can save you more. It’s even possible to save the packaging from bacon, wash it well, and then use it to freeze other meats. It will reduce what you spend on saran wrap and storage bags.

4. Stop Using Shampoo

This one is actually something I might consider. There is a movement away from shampoo right now. You can save quite a bit if you just stop using the store bought chemical stuff. You can use various items instead of expensive shampoos and conditioners, including baking soda and vinegar.

It’s also possible to reduce what you spend on soap by washing less. Take a shower every other day (and save on water), or just soap up once or twice a week. Do you really need to use soap if you are washing away most of the sweat with a shower?

5. Shop the Lost and Found

A number of places feature lost and found boxes. Libraries, churches, and stores all collect lost items. If you need something, you could go shopping at lost and found boxes. Check to see if there’s something you need or want, from a new pair of earrings to an umbrella or a book. You can’t beat the free price!

What do you think of these extreme frugality tips? Are they feasible in your life? What are some of the more outrageous frugality tips you’ve heard?

(Photo: Micah Sittig)

{ 38 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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38 Responses to “5 Ridiculous Ways to Save Money”

  1. BV says:

    Why stop at one ply – use both sides of the toilet paper!

    My mother, who was a home economics teacher, is the queen of frugality. During the 70s and 80s, she would patch and double patch the holes in clothes that were handed down by my cousins. She also saved herb used tissues and used every square inch until they were completely filled. Toilets were flushed only once a day and all bread bags, margarine dishes and like were reused over and over. All three kids would use the same 2 inches of bath water, meals were precisely weighed and measured out according to USDA guidelines and one 16 oz steak would serve a family of 5. I could write a book on her frugality and recycling methods but I’ll save those stories for the kids.

  2. mimi says:

    I didn’t know you could get something from the lost and found box, if the item wasn’t yours.

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